Learning what you don’t know you don’t know

Yash Tekriwal
Aug 4, 2019 · 3 min read

Here are some ideas to start helping you think about all the things that you want to be. And you can be more than one. There’s proof all around you.

Don’t be afraid to start at the beginning.

The suggested activities below are all connected by one main concept — exposure. You don’t know what you don’t know, so you need to put yourself in situations you’ve never been in before. Once you’ve done that — you’re ready to start putting the pieces together.

1. Create a personal manifestoOrient it around career. Questions to get you started:

  • What kind of impact do I want to have on the world around me?
  • How much money do I really need to be happy?
  • What is something I want to accomplish before I die?
  • Do I like working in a team or on my own?
  • Do I want to be talking or working for most of my work?
  • What am I good at that I enjoy doing?
  • What am I good at that I don’t doing?
  • Who am I not?
  • How many hours do I want to spend working and sleeping?
  • If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to do?

2. Find mentorsThe best way to fail fast is to learn from others who have walked in your shoes. The important thing to realize, however, is that you need to find mentors who you admire/agree with. You can find mentors of all sorts, who will have different opinions about your life journey. Find mentors who have the experiences you want to live.

This is what human networking is. Genuinely trying to get to know people, their work, and their companies. Networking is often viewed as a sleazy sweet-talking activity — but you’ve only heard that from people who are doing it all wrong.

3. Build (real) experiencesPeople automatically think that real experience means getting an internship. And internships are competitive, therefore it’s difficult to build real experience. There’s so much more that you can do though:

  • Work on a project — Didn’t get a web design internship? Build a website
  • Talk to real professionals — See “find mentors” above
  • Work micro-internshipsGet mini-work experiences
  • Shadow someone — Shadow someone in a field you’re interested in
  • Go to conferences — Conferences are amazing ways to meet people
  • Volunteer your time — Find a project you care about and volunteer
  • Join an club — Interested in consulting? Join a consulting club

4. Read booksThere are so many books by so many people on life journey’s and mindsets. You have to find those that resonate most with you, but a couple of our favorites are:

5. Learn to embrace failure and rejectionThe science is clear. We need to embrace failure to find our passions. Because there is no linear path to fulfillment

6. Reflect, Reflect, ReflectYou don’t have to write. Just check in with yourself. The answers to these questions will start to illuminate the many things that you’re “passionate” about

  • What are moments/activities where you forget to check your phone?
  • What are activities where the time just seems to literally fly by?
  • What do you think is important work to be doing?
  • What would you willingly read a 1,000 page book about?

Yash Tekriwal

Written by

UVA Launchpad

Launchpad is UVA’s remote career immersion program. Launchpad trains students through practical career exercises, and a battery of applied liberal arts and tangible digital skills blended into two real-world projects over an 8-week virtual sprint.

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